In chapter 6, Boyd addresses several negative consequences of viewing the US as a Christian nation, which he refers to as the "myth of a Christian nation."
First, this myth harms global missions because US aggression becomes associated with Christ when America is identified as a Christian nation. This view compromises the spread of the kingdom of God (KoG) because the KoG is associated by others as tainted by or because of the kingdom of the sword, which is how all kingdoms of the world operate.
If we profess allegiance to Jesus, Boyd argues, we must commit ourselves to proclaiming in action and word the truth that the kingdom of God always looks like him. When the US operates by the power of the sword, it is not evincing the love of Christ to others. We must resist this myth for the sake of the spread of the kingdom of God.
Second, this myth harms missions within the US because civil religion is seen as real Christianity. Civil religion is useful to bind people together and to give them a shared vision to work towards, but it is only an aspect of the kingdom of God. There are two dangers in this: 1) We may lose our missionary zeal because we believe we live in an already-Christian nation; there is not much need to evangelize because most people already know God. 2) We end up wasting time and resources o the civil religion, trying to tweak it to make it more "right" or "godly," rather than spreading the kingdom of God.
Instead, what if we did the kingdom of God? What if, instead of tweaking the civil reigion, what if we fed the hungry, found housing for the homeless, etc. What if we replicated the loving sacrifice of Jesus to all people, at all times, in all places, regardless of their circumstances or merit?
Third, this myth tempts us to trust the power of the sword to create the conditions by which the kingdom of God might spread. This is faulty thinking because it assumes that, once overtaken by the power of the sword, people will be willing to listen to or accept the power of the cross. This myth causes us to trust the kingdom of the sword to change things rather trusting God in prayer.
What if, instead, we truly believed that we can influence God through prayer? What if truly believed that God was seeking to bring his kingdom to bear in our midst and we worked for that, "from below," as it were?
We can counter these myths by focusing on the kingdom of God. But it will be difficult and not all who claim to follow Jesus will be on board. Our goal needs to be to love Jesus and others in his name...not the expansion of the kingdom of this world.
What do you think?